Toronto’s Lucky 13 and Red Dragon tattoo parlours lend their needles to April’s Ink4Autism campaign.
These days, it’s more common than ever to see people with tattoos. We get them to symbolize our past, our loved ones, or our passions. But what better reason to get a tattoo than to raise money for research into curing an ailment that has baffled scientists for years?
April is Autism Awareness Month and a handful of tattoo parlours in Canada and the U.S. are participating in a fundraising effort called Ink4Autism. For the duration of the month, you can visit a participating ink shop and get the autism puzzle-piece symbol etched into your skin. Half of the proceeds are donated to Autism Speaks, a research foundation dedicated to finding a cure for autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
In Toronto, Lucky 13 (533 Bloor St. W., #ANX) and Red Dragon Tattoo Parlour (743 Dovercourt Rd., #BCT) are participating in the initiative. As of yesterday, no one had been inked for autism yet, but there are still many days left in the month and, according to Lucky 13 shop owner Lina Godin (pictured below), there are already a few booked appointments for autism tats. Red Dragon owner Samina Khokhar has also been busy creating custom tattoo designs around the famous puzzle-piece image.
The puzzle piece signifies the complexity of finding the cause of autism, and Godin says that a tattoo using this symbol could be taken in a hundred different directions. You aren’t limited to just getting a simple jigsaw piece; virtually any design you can think of could be incorporated into an autism tattoo. There have been trees with puzzle pieces for leaves, hearts made of puzzle pieces, ribbons composed of puzzle pieces, and even the green-lantern symbol with jigsaw lines going through it.
The initiative was started by Jack Skorochod. He had the puzzle-piece symbol worked into his sleeve to honour his son Lincoln, who was diagnosed with autism at age 6. After Skorochod received a number of positive reactions to the ink, Ink4Autism was born. Now, he’s trying to get tattoo parlours all over North America to join the cause.
“He did a mass email to tattoo shops across the U.S. and Canada,” says Godin. “No one in Canada has joined yet except for this one shop in B.C. We’re the second shop in Canada to do it.” Godin sent the word out to her contacts in the Toronto tattoo industry and that’s how Red Dragon Tattoo Parlour got on board a well.
A small puzzle piece, roughly the size of a twoonie, will run you $60, with $30 going to autism research. But, of course, the larger the piece, the more it will cost and, therefore, provide a greater donation to Autism Speaks. Perhaps this would be a good time to get that sleeve you’ve been thinking about for so long?
For more information, visit www.ink4autism.com.